Columns

Blaine’s Bulletin: We the People

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Washington, September 20, 2019 | comments

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

This week marks 232 years since our founding fathers signed the United States Constitution. Serving as the framework for our young nation, this document protects the unalienable rights and uniquely American freedoms of our citizens. Constitution Day serves as a necessary reminder that our government, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “is of the people, by the people, and for the people.” There is a clear reason why the words “We the People” are written larger than any others on the United States Constitution.

The crown jewel of our founding fathers’ grand experiment was the doctrine of separation of powers. In order to prevent government overreach and protect our individual liberties, they divided the governing body into distinct branches; each with its own equal, but separate, powers. In our representative democracy, they envisioned a legislature that imposed new laws only after careful thoughts, rigorous debate, and responsible compromise.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

We are all immensely lucky to live in a great nation where the First Amendment guarantees us the freedom to express our opinions and speak out against those we disagree with. After all, America is a melting pot where our differences are welcomed and celebrated. However, it is important to remember that these freedoms do not mean we should abandon the pillars of decorum, respect, and civility that unite us.

Our founding fathers and the American people who lived through the American Revolution believed the right to keep and bear arms was so important that they enshrined it as the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Today, as we grapple with various ideas to curb gun violence, it is important to remember that criminalizing gun ownership goes against the ideals upon which our nation was founded. While gun violence must be addressed, violating law-abiding Americans’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights is not the answer.

In the words of President George Washington, “The constitution is the guide which I will never abandon.” A constitutional government takes its orders from the people. That is exactly what I will continue to do – listen to those I have been given the opportunity to serve and ensure your government is upholding the document that has shaped our nation. No matter our differences, for 232 years, the Constitution has been a beacon of democratic ideals. We must remain vigilant in protecting the rights and freedoms guaranteed by this revered document.

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